Irish immigrant’s suicide exposes all that’s wrong with online media

 Padraig Gaffney, a 29-year-old Irishman living in Australia, who was found dead.

The Irish Times and the Independent – also longstanding print publications – did leave their initial online articles live and unaltered. Only The Daily Mail and The Ladbible have yet to follow up at all, though that isn’t entirely surprising.

As reports of Gaffney’s death emerged, the tone with which he was treated quickly changed across the web – here included. The man who had been the butt of so many hangover jokes became a tragic figure.

Gone was any direct mention of the actions that landed him in trouble.

In none of those headlines was he a “drunk Irishman” anymore. There were no more clever puns or asides.

All that was left were the basic facts and that quote, now weighted with significance, that Gaffney felt he had ruined his life.

Isn’t it strangely fickle that the very things for which he was first so ‘news-worthy’ were suddenly no longer a part of the story?

Isn’t it tragic that that his death was the catalyst for respect?

You can argue that upsetting people is an occupational hazard of reporting, that those initial articles were only stating the facts of what he did.